A great start to the season - the sun was blazing down in March - unbelievable considering we thought we would be racing in 6 inches of snow. And...wait for it...the Mold-Meister was racing! PC Jonathon Mold actually made it onto the grid and completed his first meeting running on all 4 cylinders!!!! Miracles do happen - although if it wasn't for Team Boss Martin "SandM" Strong, Neil "Mad" Myatt and Skinny Pete, Moldy would have been sidelined again - thanks Mad for loaning the carbs and Martin for rebuilding the bike.
Unfortunately during Moldy's premature retirement, his off track habits have worsened even more and a diet of 8 pints of wife beater a night, copious amounts of "Fillet o' Fish" internet dating, mixed in with vast quantities of The Easington Pub's sizzling steaks had caused him to be carrying a fairly severe handicap around the midriff. In fact, he had to be crow-barred into his leathers for the practice session!
A vast entourage of new supporters came along to watch Team SandM in action - maybe the team name had mislead then into thinking they would be witnessing a different type of action! Anyways thanks all for coming and I hope you enjoyed the day. The two SandM riders hadn't turned a wheel in 5 months, or in Moldy's case, over one year! But with the sun beating down it only took a lap to get back into the swing of things. All seemed to running according to plan, apart from the body which was totally knackered after 3 laps - until the time sheets appeared that is and highlighted Longy's timing equipment had failed which meant he had to start from grid position 29 - the back! The officials wouldn't let him out again to get a new time once the transponder was fixed. Moldy meantime was bedding him self into the new bike but struggling around the bends because of not only his incredible bulk, but also the exhaust was decking out at 20 degrees of lean angle - a problem he had to live with all day.
Race 1 - Earystocks versus 400's
As Longy lined up onto grid position 29 behind Moldy, it was like a solar eclipse taking place - with Moldy's sheer expanse blocking out all of the sun rays. The temperature began to plummet as the grid of Earlystocks and 400's were assembled on the grid and Longy realised he needed to get going fast- the tyres had been nicely warmed after the sighting lap - but this shading effect was starting to cool them rapidly!
As the lights turned Green, the off season road riding of most riders had obviously got them into bad habits, and most bikes seemed to only leisurely pull away from the grid. Longy knew that he had to get past most of the pack around lap 1 to catch the leaders so basically just kept it nailed and luckily managed to swerve a path through almost the whole pack - including Moldy who was practically taking up the while width of the track. Result! And with a few extra places gained around the outside of Gerrards, braking into the Edwinas and the hairpin, Longy had climbed to 9th after lap 1. This was fun.....That left Alec on his 1170 Suzuki the only man to catch to get to the front of the Earlystocks race - and after 3 more laps Longy just managed to nudge up the inside of the big Suzi braking into the hairpin to take the lead.
Moldy meantime was loving it and whilst not up to his best times that he achieved on his little CB500 even, with more ground clearance, some more track time and a few nights off the steaks, he will be back to his best. Still Moldy finished 4th 750 over the line which he was pleased with considering a lay off of over a year.
Overall then a great race. Longy going from 29th to 6th overall and winning the Earlystocks race and Moldy finishing 4th in the 750 class. Racing the 400's was also a great match for the Earlystockers - similar in speed, but they are quicker around the tight bends - but the 750's a bit quicker off the start line. A mention must go to Bob Green #278 however - on his debut outing in the 750's on the wide-berth GSX750, he unfortunately dug in the crash bungs around Gerrards and bit the dust. Not to be put off - Bob said he will be out for the next one...Nice one Bob!
The sun shone again for Race 2. This was almost too good to be true. Longy this time had been elevated to grid position 6 - so was in a battle with five 400 bikes to win the race. Being on row two was a major result because 20 laps of Mallory pulling on the big 750cc flat slide race carbs had him so limp wristed he was practically in the gay bar. Moldy meantime retained his grid slot, but couldn't really "go for" it much more because of his pesky exhaust ground clearance problem.
Anyway the lights went Green and it was all to play for. The quicker starting capability of the Kawa 750 stocker over the 400's gave it a slight advantage going into Gerrards, so Longy hit the front. A pretty nippy 400 rider just edged ahead coming out of Gerrards but Longy thought he could keep with him. The cat and mouse lasted for a couple of laps and then the energy levels just collapsed - Longy was shot - a further big slide at the bus stop added some more anxiety and the 400 started to pull a good gap. 4 laps in Longy had to relinquish 2nd spot and then it was game over as the lap times plummeted with fatigue and he worked his way backward to finish 7th overall behind six 400's. Alec Gilfillan #216 on the 1170 had meantime been putting some storming laps in and over the line Longy just managed to hold him off by a few seconds to win the Earlystocks race. Riding a big heavy stocker against the thorough-bred racing 400's is no trivial task and the arms and wrists take a real battering.
Moldy meantime had a great race with #226 Colin Young on a 600 in the 750 stocker class and new to the grid. It was nip and tuck all the way and Moldy, inspite of the severe handicap in his leathers, nudged ahead of Colin this time and held it to the line to finish a commendable 3rd in class. He was buzzing....
A strong rumour is emerging there will be another addition to Team SandM during the 2009 season. Another Boy in Blue from the Starbucks Police HQ in Banbury, known affectionately as "NYPD", has been spotted surfing for GPz750 parts on eBay. Team SandM could soon be a 3 man outfit maybe, lead by our tuning expert Martin "The Boss" Strong....
Watch this space for more action highlights!